An early Charles Stepney arrangement (who later worked with The Dells, Rotary Connection, and Earth, Wind, & Fire, among others), this record rumbles and slinks along with soul.
I love how the chunky electric keys interplay with the swirling strings, and Monk’s swinging saxophone.
Monk Higgins was born Milton Bland in Arkansas. He was already a staple on the Chicago Scene when he released this cut on Chess in 1968 (just before he went to LA, bringing fellow Chicago Scenesters Freddie Robinson and Mamie Galore for the ride).
UPDATE: For more Lovely versions of this classic composition (and a touch of drama), check the comments of this post.
Darkjive has been on Summer Vacation, but always digging deeper… I’ve been really into swinging sixties jazz from Chicago, like “Coming to Atlantis” a hip mover produced by Monk Higgins and credited to Freddie “The Creeper” Robinson (on Lead Guitar). The Flip of this 45, called “Before Six” is wonderful, as well.
During the late 1960’s, there was, of course, lots of overlap between soul and jazz scenes in Chicago, and many instrumentals charted on Soul-formated radio (like “Burning Spear” by the Soulful Strings [a pet project of Charles Stepney and Richard Evans at Cadet], and “Soulful Strut” by Young-Holt Unlimited).
Below is from one of my treasured Dorothy Ashby albums (arranged by Richard Evans), “Come Live With Me” (originally featured in the film, Valley of the Dolls). Many of my favorite cuts, not surprisingly, are not on youtube. After all, the revolution wasn’t televised.